WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Hammond, Day 1: Steve Billirakis Leads
For the second time this month, the World Series of Poker Circuit made a stop in Indiana, this time at the largest poker room in the Midwest, the Chicago area's Horseshoe Hammond. 165 players took to the felt on Day 1, including several final-table finishers from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana stop earlier in October. Southern Indiana runner-up Jerry Martin was in the field, along with tablemates Dean Schultz, Jamin Stokes and Derek Whelan. Of those, Stokes was the only one who finished Day 1 with a shot at consecutive Circuit final tables.
Also in the field was 10-year NBA vet Ken Norman. Norman, whose career spanned stops with the L.A. Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks, made the final table of a preliminary event earlier this week and then bought into the Main Event. Dean Hamrick, the 2008 WSOP Main Event final-table bubble boy, also joined the field in Hammond, as did online superstars Steve "MrSmokey1" Billirakis, Kevin "BeLOWaBOVe" Saul and Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf.
Saul rode a roller coaster for much of the day and early evening before busting out after the dinner break. After an early double-up, he knocked out several opponents before finding himself in a tough spot on this hand. On the flop of , Saul led out, his opponent raised him, and Saul called. His opponent fired out a substantial bet on the turn, and Saul moved all in over the top. His opponent snap-called, and Saul had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar as he tabled for second pair. His opponent was well ahead with , and the on the river out a serious dent in Saul's stack. Not long after, Saul doubled up when his held up against an opponent's , but he busted on the next hand when his couldn't outdraw Amid Fakhouri's .
Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf didn't live up to his handle on Day 1, holding the chip lead for a while and finishing up with a solid stack. He took out Young Phan and Ilias Kellikidis in one huge hand where both players moved all in ahead of him and he looked down at pocket aces from the big blind. Phan tabled pocket queens and Kellikidis showed , and when the board ran out 9-5-4-6-K, Woolf took out two players at once.
Woolf held the chip lead until late in the evening, but Steve "MrSmokey1" Billirakis vaulted past him in a huge pot on the last hand of the night. Billirakis checked the river on a board of with a huge pot already in the middle. His opponent moved all in, and Billirakis was put to the test for all his chips. After a good five minutes of thought, Billirakis made the call with , and took the chip lead when his opponent mucked.
At the end of the day with only 40 players remaining, Billirakis held a slight chip lead over Jason DeWitt, with the top ten stacks as follows:
Steve Billirakis - 295,600
Jason DeWitt - 271,200
Ravi Raghavan - 247,000
Jim Kasputis Jr. - 181,600
Adam Jacobs - 134,100
Brian Weinbaum - 122,700
George Dietz - 117,000
Dean Hamrick - 116,000
Gary Leibovitz - 115,300
Dustin Woolf - 114,900
Join PokerNews at 2PM local time as the 40 survivors play down to the final table.
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